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The husband and wife duo that is Louise and Shayne Johnson, the operators of Grampa G's Farm Fresh Produce at the Pine River farmers' market held every Friday from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Photo by Sarah Rudlang

A tried and true practice of farming at Grampa G's

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When stopping by the Pine River farmers market held each Friday afternoon, passersby will find variety offered at every stand.

There is no question you are receiving quality produce when buying from Grampa G's, one of the popular vendors at local farmers markets. With the farm being just shy of 100 years old, one can believe their practices are tried and true.

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Louise and Shayne Johnson are the folks running the show at their farm in Pillager. Louise said Grandpa George was the first, starting the homestead, which has continued on through four generations of their family. Grandpa Grant currently helps with watering the plants; hence "Grampa G's."

Offering fresh vegetables, fresh eggs, meat, chickens, fresh and dried herbs, flowers, starter plants, seeds, jams, jellies, salsas, pickles, artisan breads and more, the list of items at Grampa G's is nearly endless. Louise said they have a little of everything. A sample list of items includes arugula, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cantaloupe, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, endive, garlic, gourds, kale, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, squash, tomatoes and more.

"We've always had a garden," said Louise. "We started selling in the market at the Backyard Greenhouse only about seven or eight years ago. But the farming itself has been in the family for ages. We got into the Pine River market when we were looking for places close to Pillager. It now has been our second year here and we absolutely love it. There are wonderful people in Pine River and the community is very welcoming; we are very impressed."

The Johnsons are busy people. Both work full time in addition to tending and selling their items. Louise owns Azzup's Gardening, a landscape architecture business, while Shayne works with the Department of Natural Resources as a civil engineer technician. How do they do it?

"We just work 80 hours a week," Louise said simply with a smile.

"We're trying to educate people about local foods, new foods and how to be organic. We are definitely organic with our produce," she said. "We would like to eventually be our own market/grocery store."

Shayne and Louise have a permanent stand at the farm that is open Saturday afternoons and all day Sundays at 207 W. Highway 210, Pillager. They also can be found at the Pine River market from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Fridays and at the Backyard Greenhouse in between Deerwood and Crosby from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. They also take special orders that can be placed by calling 218-251-5222 or 218-851-3359, or they can be reached at grampa.gs@gmail.com.

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